The end of the beginning: Unlawful Things

NovelAfter four and a half years, well over 100,000 words, and more re-writes than I care to contemplate, I finished writing my novel, Unlawful Things. It’s time to release this story into the wild.

It’s a strange feeling – mainly relief, to be honest. Back in the autumn, I seriously questioned whether I would ever finish it.  After all, I’d spent four months doing nothing but writing over the summer, and hadn’t come to the end. Would I have the energy, back in my full-time job, to push on and complete the final third that I knew needed writing?

At New Year, I decided to give myself a deadline. I would complete the novel, come hell or high water, by the end of March. I spent less time blogging, less time reading novels, less time doing anything apart from writing. I took time off work to spend with my keyboard, down at my parent’s flat in Deal. I even re-organised the study, in a burst of energy that seemed to unblock some of the plot questions I’d been puzzling over.

It’s hard to remember exactly at what point I knew I would do it – but it felt as if I’d been pushing a boulder up a hill, and suddenly it was over the peak and running ahead of me down the hill. I took a week off work, knowing I was nearly there – and suddenly there it was, done.

I’ve thought hard about what happens next. I’m aware that lots of authors self-publish now, very successfully, and enjoy the control that gives them over the process. However, I want to try the conventional route first. I’m planning my campaign with the agencies and publishers in the hope that someone, somewhere, will have the sort of faith in this novel that has sustained me over the years of writing.

So what’s it about? As Stephen King says, the best answer to that question is probably ‘About 100,000 words.’ But I do want to share some of the excitement I feel about the story. It’s about a London tour guide and poet, Helen, who discovers the dangers of digging up secrets from the past. It takes in Elizabethan spies and playwrights, medieval poets, aristocratic scandals and religious turmoil. The story unwinds along the road from London to Canterbury, in the footsteps of Chaucer’s pilgrims.

I’ve started a blog, Unlawful Things the novel, which I hope will answer some of those questions and spark some interest while I start the long road to finding a publisher. Please do take a look, and I would be most grateful if you would like or share the Facebook page.




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